Writer and mental health activist, Harriet Williamson asked her followers to tell her about the worst job interview they’d ever had. And the answers range from hilarious, to insulting, to downright terrifying.
One user commented that they had a colleague who once went to an interview during his lunch break. The client locked him and two others in a room until they had found a solution to his problem. One called the police and the client was charged with false imprisonment.
Safe to say that after reading that I will be suspicious of any interview that takes place in an enclosed space for the rest of my life.
Other commenters shared their experiences of racism during the interview process. One commenter said that during an interview for a small local newspaper, she was told townspeople wouldn’t talk to her because she was black. The interviewer claimed that he wasn’t prejudiced but would not hire her because she was black.
Many people had experiences of employment discrimination during interviews. One user commented, “They asked me if I intended to have children, you know...to see if they should hire me.”
Another shared her experience of sexism while interviewing for a tech role at an ad agency. “The guy told me I really seemed to know my stuff, but he’d once made the mistake of hiring a woman for a tech role. While she talked a good game, she couldn’t actually perform. As such, he’d never even consider hiring another woman for a tech role, as clearly all women couldn’t do tech.”
While some commenters pointed out that it is illegal in many countries to make hiring decisions based on racist or sexist prejudices, the overwhelming amount of bad interview experiences showed that discrimination is still commonplace.
Others had more lighthearted stories. One person wrote about a weird interview during which they were interviewed by the manager and his dog. She was told that she’d get the job if the dog liked her.
Another said that their worst interview was one that never actually ended. They said, “I was interviewed by a panel. They asked me to wait in another room. After an hour or so I went to find someone to find out what was happening. Turned out the panel had argued about me, and gone home. They forgot they’d asked me to wait in the other room and didn’t tell anyone.”
One user told the story of their nightmare remote interview, “It was via zoom and...one of my cats jumped on me mid interview and inadvertently scratched my face. I spent the rest of the interview with a swollen lip and spewing tiny bits of blood every time I answered a question.” But the real twist was that they got the job!
So while a bad interview can stay with you for life, it seems that if it’s meant to be it’ll be - even if you end up with a few battle scars along the way.
Zoe Victoria is a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @Zoe__V